London Marathon death: Donations to MasterChef contestant Matt Campbell's fundraising page top £92,000

Runner who collapsed during hottest race in event's history set sponsorship target of £2,500

Chris Baynes
Tuesday 24 April 2018 11:24 BST
Matt Campbell: Former MasterChef contestant dies after collapsing during the London Marathon

Donations to a fundraising page set up by a former MasterChef contestant who died running the London Marathon have passed £90,000.

Matt Campbell, 29, collapsed during the 23rd mile of the race on Sunday and died later in hospital.

The professional chef, from the Lake District, had been running the marathon in memory of his father and hoped to raise £2,500 for Cumbria charity the Brathay Trust.

Donations to his sponsorship page soared to more than 3,600 per cent of his fundraising target in the 24 hours after his death was confirmed by the event’s organisers.

“Matt gave so much to Brathay and the young people we work with,” the charity said in a statement. “We are stunned and humbled by the outpouring of love and support in his memory on his JustGiving page, creating a lasting legacy allowing us to reach many more young people.”

Mr Campbell – who reached the semi-final of BBC Two’s MasterChef: The Professionals last year – was a keen long-distance runner and completed the Manchester Marathon in under three hours earlier this month.

He was planning to run the Windermere Marathon for the third time in May to raise money for the Brathay Trust, which works with disadvantaged youths and their families.

He became involved in with the organisation through his father Martin, who died in 2016. On his fundraising page, Mr Campbell said he was “honoured to run on behalf of such an amazing charity” in his father’s name.

He added the 18 months since his father’s sudden death “have been the toughest of my life but his spirit and energy live on in me”.

On the morning of the London Marathon, he tweeted a picture of himself smiling alongside former MasterChef contestant Tom Peters, with the caption: “Let’s do this.”

The weekend’s race was the hottest in the event’s history, with runners facing temperatures of up to 24C.

Hundreds of athletes have vowed to “finish” the race in Mr Campbell’s honour by running 3.7 miles, his distance from the finish line when he collapsed on Sunday.

Runners taking part have been using the hashtag #LetsRunForMatt and making donations to his fundraising page.

“Matt was a unique inspiration, a positive person whose enthusiasm and love of life touched so many,” the Brathay Trust said.

“In the time we knew Matt, we were all affected by his unique personality and talent. We were in awe of his flair as a chef and he was generous with his time and knowledge.

“Matt leaves a huge void and we will all miss him greatly.”

Mr Campbell began his career working in Michelin-starred kitchens after finishing second in the BBC’s Young Chef of the Year competition in 2009 at the age of 20.

He later became a private chef and had travelled the world cooking for diners before appearing on MasterChef in 2017. He embarked on a UK “roadshow” tour this year, with dates in Leeds planned for next month, and was working on a TV pilot and book.

MasterChef judge Marcus Wareing was among many people who paid tribute to Mr Campbell on social media, writing: “He was a talented, innovative and driven chef with a bright future ahead of him. My thoughts are with his friends and family at this tragic time.”

Helen Hokin, Mr Campbell’s PR consultant, said: “He was a lovely, kind hearted and down-to-earth man. I believe he was poised to become the next great innovator in British food.”

The cause of Mr Campbell's death has not yet been confirmed.

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